ATF has a history of approving Form 4 transfers to invalid trusts. Today, I received another example of an invalid trust that ATF had already approved a transfer for a suppressor. As more people are learning about gun trust we are seeing more poorly written and in some cases invalid gun trusts.
Most invalid trusts are invalid because they do not name a beneficiary or someone lists themselves as the beneficiary. With the trust we received today, the trust did not meet the minimum signing requirements for the state where it was created.
I recently purchased a trust from a major suppressor manufacture, that had the same problem and while I live in Florida, the trust that was created online would would not be valid in Florida. In addition, I made a typographical error entering the information and my repeated attempts to contact the company to fix the issue have been ignored. For a company who prides themselves on customer service, this has been disappointing. For the time being we would warn people to stay away from “easytrust” which is being advertised by a suppressor manufacture. The trust has many of the problems associated with traditional trusts that can create liability for the trustees and beneficiaries of a poorly written gun trust and the one I received would not be valid in my state unlike their claims.
While talking with the client of the invalid trust, it turned out that he had received the trust from a friend of his who told him it was prepared by a lawyer. It would appear that the trust was not prepared by a licensed attorney or the lawyer was not familiar with trust law, gun law, or both. A Gun Trust is very different than a revocable trust and one needs to consider each and every power and instruction in a trust and how they will interact with firearms owners and their desires to draft a well written gun trust.
With many online gun trusts popping up it is important to realize that a trust is not valid, nor is possession legal, just because the ATF approves a transfer. If you have an invalid trust and are in possession of a firearm restricted by the NFA, you in violation of the NFA and could face both civil and criminal penalties.
A few benefits of a properly drafted Gun Trust include:
- The ability to tell your representatives how to properly transfer these firearms upon your death regardless of the state that they live in;
- The ability to move states and maintain a trust that is easily recognized as valid in other states;
- The ability to deal with co-trustees and beneficiaries in multiple states;
- The ability for your minor children to use the NFA firearms with adult supervision and parental consent;
- The ability to transfer assets to children, even below the age of 18, when they reach an appropriate age, while giving the someone the ability to make distribution decisions based on mental state, physical location, legality of the transfer, and age;
- The ability to make unequal distributions so that firearms do not have to be liquidated to give equal distributions;
- The ability of the Trustee to refuse assets transferred by will or other means when the NFA and state requirements are not complied with;
- The requirement to comply with NFA and State laws for the purchase, sale, and transfer of NFA related assets;
- The ability to make uneven distributions to heirs to conserve the value of assets;
- The ability to purchase Title II firearms, without creating a violation of the duties of the trustee;
- The ability to use the firearms in the trust without creating liability to the beneficiaries for the misuse and improper management of trust assets;
- The instructions and formalities on how to: manufacture items under a Form 1, how to purchase items correctly under a Form 4, how to properly document and transport Title II firearms with a Form 20;
- Protection for yourself and your family from Constructive Possession – a violation of the NFA;
- Protection for yourself and your family from Accidental Possession – often a bigger problem than Constructive possession;
- The ability to add others to your trust at a later time and create additional authorized users of the firearms.
- Many so called gun trusts or NFA trusts are designed only for NFA firearms. You should stay away from these and if you think that you only need a trust for NFA firearms, please read this article on why you should have a gun trust designed for all your firearms;
- The ability to add a ArmsGuard protector to help insulate against future legislative changes that may restrict the rights of future transfers of your firearms;
- Ability to upgrade your trust to include asset protection and dynasty trust provisions. Some claim that transferring firearms from you to your kids is multi-generational, this is not what is meant by a dynasty trust or multi-generational trust.
If you would like your trust reviewed or to create a Gun Trust, call or email us. If you want more information on gun trusts, complete the contact us form on this page and request information.